Myanmar halted fence work after New Delhi’s intervention, says Nagaland chief minister

Intervention by India has halted work by Myanmar on a border fence in Sagaing Region, the Chief Minister of India’s Nagaland State was quoted as saying on February 7.

Myanmar stopped work on the fence after the issue was raised by India’s External Affairs Ministry, the Chief Minister, Mr T.R. Zeliang, told a news conference in the Nagaland capital, Kohima, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Zeliang said India’s National Security Adviser, Mr Ajit Doval, had called on February 6 to advise him of Myanmar’s decision, the newspaper reported.

The chief minister said the two countries were planning to hold detailed talks on border fencing, but he did not elaborate.

He also said that a summit of all Naga living on the Indian side of the border would be held soon.

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Zeliang did not say what would be discussed at the summit, however several Naga groups in India have opposed a border fence.

A Naga group in India wrote to President U Htin Kyaw in early January to ask Myanmar to scrap plans to build the fence, it was reported at the time.

The group, the Khiamniungan Tribal Council, said the Khiamnuingan Naga people, were not consulted about the fence, the report said.

There were at least 160 Khiamniungan Naga villages in Myanmar and the group feared that the sealing off of about 3,500 acres by the fence would affect their livelihoods, said the report.

Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a January 10 statement it planned to build the fence in the Naga Self-Administered Zone, 10 metres from the demarcated border with India, China’s state-run Xinhua newsagency reported last month.

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